Once a year for the last few years I’ve made sausage rolls for my granddaughter’s birthday party. Ava recently turned six and as always, I made my world-famous-in Hobart sausage rolls. As you can see from the picture, they were a little over browned, but that wasn’t a deterrent when it came to eating them.
I always make the pastry and generally find that Maggie Beer’s rough puff pastry works a treat. It’s always a little different and I think this year’s wasn’t as flaky as last year’s pastry, but hey, you get that. It’s one of the things that makes home cooking what it is – every time you cook it will be a little different.
For freshness and texture I mince the meat using the Kitchenaid mincing attachment and the small mincing plate. For the filling I prefer to use belly pork mixed with veal, but this year mixed beef through as veal wasn’t available at the butcher’s shop.
Home-made sausage rolls don’t have that in-your-face homogenous flavour that commercially produced ones tend to have, but you can add more herbs, spices and seasoning to boost the flavour if you wish.
A mild flavour is great for kids’ parties.
It’s something to experiment with, that’s for sure, until you get a mix you love. And of course you can use pre-minced meat instead of going to the trouble of mincing your own.
In fact, why wouldn’t you when you really don’t know what’s in the commercial ones anyway.
Without further delay, it’s time to cook sausage rolls.
You will need
750 grams fatty pork (boned belly is great) or fresh, minced pork
250 grams veal or beef, minced or whole
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium-sized apples, grated
1 tablespoon butter
chopped fresh herbs: sage, flat leaf parsley and thyme – about 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
2 teaspoons sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
a good dash of ground white pepper
Optional: 1 tablespoon calvados or good quality balsamic vinegar for a flavour boost
1/2 cup toasted fresh breadcrumbs
1 batch of Maggie Beer’s rough puff pastry – click here for recipe and for another delicious idea of using it
1 egg, beaten with a teaspoon of cold water
Make sure you prepare the pastry first. While it’s having its final rest, prepare the filling.
If you’re mincing your own meat, do this first, mixing up the veal and pork so it’s perfectly combined. If you have bought minced meat, place both the pork and veal/beef in a bowl and use your clean hands to squish it all up to combine beautifully.
Chop the onion as finely as you can and mince the garlic using a garlic press if you have one. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onion and garlic, then sauté gently for a few minutes until the onion is transluscent. Add the herbs and grated apple and stir to combin, then add the salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. To speed the cooling process, you can spread the mixture over a plate and place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
When cooled, add the onion/garlic/apple mixture to the minced meat. Next add the breadcrumbs and ground fennel seed and mix well. If you want, you can pop a teaspoon of good quality balsamic vinegar or calvados in for kick.
Form the mixture into logs by placing handfuls along a long roll across cling film. Twist the ends of the cling film until the parcel becomes tight and keep tightening until the meat is evenly spread and about the thickness of an unshelled walnut. Make 3 of these, ready to drop onto your rolled pastry.
Remove the rested pastry from the fridge and cut into three equal pieces. Place two back in the fridge and roll out the first piece long and thin on a clean, lightly floured surface.
Take one cylinder of meat and roll it off the cling film onto the pastry at one end, leaving enough room to fold the pastry over to enclose the meat. If the meat is longer than the pastry, just cut the excess off the end and set aside.
Press with a fork to seal, or cut it down the length and roll up instead of leaving a sealed edge, as you can see I’ve done in the photo. A pizza wheel works a treat to cut the pastry evenly. Take a sharp knife and score the top of the long roll, then brush with the beaten egg.
Repeat the process until all the pastry and meat is used up. Any pastry that’s cut off the pieces can be rolled together and re-rolled for using.
Place all the rolls together and cut into desired lengths, then place on oven trays. Place into a preheated 200C (fan) 210C (non-fan) oven and turn down the heat to 170C / 190C. Watch carefully while baking and reduce the heat further if the meat needs extra cooking time.
When the pastry is golden and the filling is cooked through, remove to wire cooling trays and cool completely or serve immediately with a tomato relish and salad for a meal, or just hand around with a bowl of tomato sauce.
And here’s a picture of the rolls on the party table.